It's true, I of all people am stepping away from this great hobby. First I will say, this is not easy for me to even say and I still have to follow through with it. My love for this hobby is still as strong as ever, I know this process is going to hurt. I started collecting long ago when an uncle of mine owned a card shop in my local town. I have been involved in this hobby for the majority of my life, so actually going through with this is like losing a part of myself. I have never been in this hobby as a financial investment. It's always been done as another way to enjoy a sport and players I enjoy.
So you're probably asking why, why would he be leaving something he still loves and enjoyes so much? That answer can be a bit complicated or very simple, depending on how you look at it. For the past year or so I've have this thought in the back of my mind; "These cards don't matter in the bigger picture of life" and the question, "Do I value these cards more than I do the things much more important?"
At one point, I asked my wife "Do you see my card collecting as a bad thing?" and she said "No, I know you enjoy it and I see nothing wrong with it" Hearing that from here suppressed some of my feelings many months ago. Knowing that I enjoy it so much and knowing how much a part of my life it is, I continued.
Eventually, those thoughts crept back into my mind, almost to a point of conviction. Then came a clear confirmation this past Friday... I was listening to an interview between David Platt and Katie Davis (I'll explain who they are in a minute), by the end of it, the only thought I had was "I have to sell my collection, period."
If you don't know, I am a Christian, I admittedly haven't always been the best example of that throughout my time here but that is where my belief resides. With that in mind, over the past couple years, I, like many non-Christians as well, have grown very skeptical and uncomfortable with the "American Church". Now, all that is for another discussion... However, it was because of those feelings that I really began to seek out truth and tried to understand what the biblical Gospel really is (I'm still learning). In my quest, the more I learned, the more I felt it needed to change on my life. What good is it for me to learn and better understand things and not live a life that reflects that understanding?
So what does that have to do with card collecting? I see nothing inherently wrong with being involved in this hobby, not one bit. No part of me feels like card collecting is a "sin", don't think that's what I'm getting at here. With me, heres my issue... I have let this hobby get to such a place in my life where I value it more so than I do much more important things, even God. When something gets to that point in a Christians life, it's an idol, and that can't be. Another part of this is about Jesus' teachings on living a "simple" life and having a heart for giving. As I began to understand that more, I realized that all I'm doing is accumulating stuff, that's all it is, stuff. I finally realized that I struggle between how much I valued this hobby in my life, compared to how much I valued God. That is why I have to get out and why I have such a strong conviction to do so.
If you're a fellow believer in Christ, I don't know how this hits you. I am not saying you're wrong or doing anything against God for being involved in this hobby. If it's in a place in your life where you have a healthy control over it and it doesn't out-value God in your life, I see nothing wrong with it. What I will say is that, if you were asked to give this or anything for that matter, up for the sake of your faith, could you? If we have the same reaction as the "rich man" did when Jesus told him to sell all he had and then come follow him and we struggle with making that choice...then we know there's a problem. And that's where I am. I said it at the beginning of the post, walking away from this hobby is going to be painful. However, I know once I walk through this, It's going to be worth it when I come out on the other side.
Could I come back to this hobby one day? I can't answer that at this moment.
I told you earlier, I'd explain who these two people are... David Platt is the pastor of Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, AL and Katie Davis is a 23-24 year old woman from Nashville, TN who now lives in Uganda running an organization called Amazima. Platt is a man who has set out to turn the "American Church" upside down, or rather, right side up. I admire what God is doing through him and his life. Katie Davis has gone against the cultural norm, her parents desires and followed the instructions she felt God placed on her life. It's a truly amazing story and she is doing great things in the country of Uganda.
For this, I am not selling my collection as a means to gain the monetary value from it. The majority of what I bring in is going to be donated directly to Katie's organization, Amazima.
If you're interested in what really ignited such a change in my life, here is the full 54min interview between Platt and Davis (I find it worth the time): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZmWW_qL9Io
If you're not inclined to watch that, here is a short (3min) promo on Amazima and what they do:http://youtu.be/jGyYsA62CxY
If you'd like any "teachings" relating to anything I've been talking about, let me know and I'll pass those along.
Lastly, my entire Photobucket is for sale. Every last card, so check it out and let me know what you need prices on.
PS. I don't own the Matt Ryan 1/1 anymore and all Bears stuff could be going to my dad. http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd251/Gforce083TS/